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Video Encoding in the Cloud A Key Strategy for 2011

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RightScale Webinar: January 20, 2011 – In this webinar we discuss how and when to use on-demand cloud infrastructure for your video encoding needs and a live demo: …

RightScale Webinar: January 20, 2011 – In this webinar we discuss how and when to use on-demand cloud infrastructure for your video encoding needs and a live demo:

* Basics of video encoding on the cloud
* Strategy discussion on when to use public cloud encoding, on-premise encoding or a hybrid of both
* Overview of how to bring up cloud-based encoding servers for special projects and for excess capacity and fail-over
* Live demo.

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  • Reason strategy was in the title is strategy is about tradeoffs (doing this, not that)- looking at landscape – in this case:More devices, more renditions, more delivery options (give examples)As result, More formats to support more devicesThe need for encoding is accelerating, not declining.
  • Fundamental encoding value prop is deliver highest quality in smallest relative bit rate because bandwidth and storage are not unlimited. Think about this for the moment, how much time, money, and resources are spent within your organization on cameras, lighting, equipment, editing, etc… = all to have it ruined by a poor user experience because the format doesn’t work on a device, the frame size is wrong, there is buffering…What we’ve learned is customers demand the most bang for your bit. This is what there is so many presets (encoding recipes)- there are a lot of variables-Here are some sample encoding parameters:-Codec-Profile-Method (Single, 2x, Multi)-Variable vs Constant-Frame Rate-Data Rate (Bitrate)-Frame Size-Aspect Ratio--Pixel Aspect Ratio (Display)-Interlace Mode-Key Frame Interval-Filters-Black Normalization Level
  • What does this all mean? Video encoding is complex and hard thing to do right. Mention capex/opex/performance savings. This means companies must encode content in all of the various formats, bitrates, etc.. to support the growing list of mobile phones and tablets while also still supporting delivery of content to the web & TV. Netflix currently creates 100 different permutations to reach all screens. http://www.infoq.com/presentations/Netflix-in-the-Cloud
  • For those of you who don’t know RightScale, we have been helping customers manage their cloud deployments for over 3 years. Today, we have more than 30,000 users and have launched almost 2,000,000 servers in the cloud. Our customers vary in size and industry – from large multi-national media, insurance and pharmaceutical companies, to online gaming and Web 2.0 startups. RightScale is available on demand, so you don’t need to purchase any software, and we have a trained professional services team ready to help you learn more about RightScale and cloud computing, architect and deploy your applications, and help you when you encounter problems.
  • When it comes to encoding – every enterprise has a unique set of needs so there are a number of ways in which to use the cloud for encoding. The first is cloud-only. For example, an enterprise can take advantage of Sorenson’s Squeeze Managed Server or bring their own license to a virtual machine on AWS and then pay monthly or only for compute time used for encoding. Hybrid Encoding is a combination of on-premise encoders and the public cloud. Many of you probably have existing encoding technology that aren’t going to simply throw away – your CIO might have an issue with this! The benefit of this deployment type is that you can use existing server hardware until capacity is reached and then offload encoding jobs to encoders in the cloud and pay only for the additional encoding capacity that is needed. Another great use case for this deployment type is for fail-over. This allows you to seamlessly hand off those troublesome files or when a server goes down – minimizing the risk of a failed encoding job and lost time/productivity. One last deployment type is the Hybrid Cloud which takes advantage of a private cloud such as Cloud.com or Eucalyptus as well as a public cloud provider such as Amazon Web Services or Rackspace. This is what I like to describe as having your cake and eating it too! You get the benefits of the cloud within your own datacenter but you control those resources and when needed – you simply increase capacity or failover to the public cloud on-demand. Companies like RightScale make this look easy and we’ll discuss more during the demo. So we’ve touched on this earlier but what are the primary advantages of the cloud for encoding:Significantly Less CAPEXNot surprisingly, the ability to reduce or eliminate existing physical hardware and replace with on-demand cloud infrastructure is the primary driver for adoption of cloud encoding solutions. In the "spikey" world of enterprise video encoding (with periods of alternating high- and low-volume needs), the ability to automatically fire up and take down servers provides a true and frequently massive cost savings to the enterprise. There is no longer a need to purchase more than is needed to support peak encoding periods. In essence, all the headaches of encoding are efficiently off-loaded-and, if done right, with only upside (including higher video higher quality).Significantly Less Ongoing OPEXHere are potentially massive cost savings, round two. Enterprise IT staffs are already stretched to the limit. And, confronting those staffs with ever-more-complex encoding responsibilities is simply too much to ask and frequently leads to an inefficient and inferior patchwork of encoding systems and bottlenecks in deploying or managing those systems. Thanks to the cloud, companies can instead hand off their growing video encoding needs and burden to a managed service provider that is focused on one thing and one thing only-i.e., providing the highest quality, most flexible and most cost effective video transcoding solutions.  But caveat emptor (buyer beware)-shop around wisely when you pick your managed service provider. Make sure that it is rock-solid financially and will be there for you in the future.Scalability & ElasticityVideo content for web and mobile delivery is growing exponentially, and this isn't going to change any time soon. In fact, we are still early, early, early in the web and mobile video game (I like to say we're only in the second inning). This means that many companies understandably struggle to forecast their future encoding needs accurately. But here comes the cloud to the rescue again. The cloud provides virtually unlimited scalability and elasticity, enabling companies to pay for only what they need today with the assurance that more capacity (i.e., encoding servers) can be brought online automatically and seamlessly to meet those unpredictable needs.Enhanced Performance-Multiple Renditions & Queue ManagementThe right cloud transcoding solution can offer enhanced performance over out-dated on premise precursors. While one encoded video file (also known as a "rendition") may have worked in the past, that just ain't the case in 2011 where there is a need for high quality playback across the growing multitude of devices and platforms. Think of a company like Netflix. Its movies must look great on every platform (the big screen, the small screen) and every device. Customers expect it. The hyper-competitive market demands it. That's why Netflix now typically creates more than 100 renditions of varying speed and format permutations to optimize quality and performance for just about any customer use case (some, like NBC Universal, now apparently create more than 200 renditions!). And, remember, each of these renditions is frequently created from a large video file. This means massive high volume concurrent and frequently "spikey" transcoding needs.Enterprises can address this problem in one of two ways - i.e., throw more hardware at the problem (the traditional way) or move to the cloud (the 2011 enterprise solution way). Let's look at the traditional approach first. As discussed above, it is extremely expensive (CAPEX and OPEX) and it is imprecise - essentially guesswork to determine how much hardware is needed for anticipated spikes. Imprecision leads to all kinds of inefficiencies and waste. This archaic approach also fails to solve ongoing needs for queue management and ultra-fast turnaround times. And, let's face it-all enterprises (think of media companies as just one example) want what they want, and they want it yesterday. Patience is not a virtue in the fast-paced demanding and competitive world of video production and delivery.Now, let's take a look at the cloud in the face of these issues. In the hands of the right service provider, the cloud elegantly solves the problem of high volume transcoding with seamless queue management and scalability. Enterprises can attack the video encoding queue horizontally - where all the benefits of the cloud are realized - by activating high power compute instances (i.e., a virtual server in the cloud) against encoding jobs as needed (or automatically turning them off when demand slackens). In other words, cloud encoding solutions can enable enterprises to manage encoding queues with intelligence and auto-scaling to match any business objective to deliver the most efficient and cost-effective solutionEnhanced Flexibility & The Hybrid Cloud-Dynamic ScalabilityLet's face it, no CIO or CFO (or certainly, not many) wants to dump expensive and already purchased hardware and software. But, have no fear!  The right enterprise cloud encoding solution offers flexibility and choice. Businesses can leverage their existing physical hardware until capacity is reached and then seamlessly "hand-off" additional jobs to the public cloud (this is called "dynamic scalability"). It is not an "either/or" decision-enterprises need not go cold turkey on their existing transcoding farms and shift all encoding jobs to the cloud (although ultimately many, if not most, will). Welcome to the hybrid cloud model. Dynamic scalability (i.e., the hybrid cloud) is a fast and growing use case. Rather than lose productivity while troubleshooting failed encoding jobs and "hung" servers, the enterprise can now automatically and cost-effectively hand off work to servers in the cloud. In so doing, they witness the benefits of the cloud first-hand. They can crawl and walk before they run.Faster Deployment, Future Proofing & Even More FlexibilityThe proliferation of new complex video formats (think WebM) and devices (think tablets everywhere) continues unabated, and this reality will only accelerate as the biggest companies in the world compete for video market share. In an attempt to address this increasing complexity and need for device support, most enterprises to date have abruptly (and painfully) invested in costly new encoding hardware and software to augment their existing systems. But, this isn't the way it needs to be done in 2011. Once again, here comes the cloud to the rescue.Accessible through APIs, the right cloud-based encoding solution can be quickly and seamlessly integrated into existing workflows to give a reduced time to market and fewer resources to deploy and manage. And, the right solution has the benefits of a SaaS model, providing instant seamless upgrades and support for new platforms and devices (like the iPad or Galaxy) on day 1 in the marketplace (this is what I call "future proofing"). There are no downsides here.InnovationAs discussed above, IT teams are already taxed to the limit, and encoding is hard. That means that encoding innovation rarely comes from within organizations (they simply have too many other things to do). Instead, innovation comes from third-party video specialists focused only on solving these problems. Innovation can be found in a variety of third party applications that can be integrated seamlessly into an overall cloud solution.Examples include fast file upload of large video files into the cloud. This capability is mission critical to enterprises with massive video files (think media companies), thereby making cloud encoding a real-world alternative in 2011. Another example is cloud server management. Third party specialists now offer innovative management of entire cloud server systems (also known as deployments). Within such deployments, each server can be pre-configured and controlled using a cloud-ready template. These are just some examples, as innovation comes directly from the right transcoding service provider as well (think of them as being a solutions provider that combines the best overall elements to meet the enterprise's specific and frequently unique needs).
  • We’ll talk later in this presentation about the different types of deployments (on-demand, hybrid on-premise/cloud, and the hybrid private cloud/public cloud) but here is a basic example workflow to help you understand how any of these cloud solutions are deployed. Many of you are probably used to pushing your source files on premise encoding farms and my guess is that there are times when you’ve been limited by physical capacity of those servers, challenged by new encoding profiles/formats not supported by your solution, or hindered by failed job or a “hung server” that results in down time and lost productivity. Offloading the encoding to the cloud helps minimize, if not completely eliminate all of these scenarios. As you can see, the source files are pushed to the cloud where encoding servers can now be brought up (and equally important – brought down) on demand either manually or most likely using automation tied to business rules such as peak periods, content load, best price per instance, or a combination of business rules. Using encoders in the cloud also means that its far easier to update those servers with new formats, codecs, device profiles “on demand” without interrupting your day to day business operations. We’ll talk later about reduced CAPEX/OPEX but utilizing the cloud provides a cost savings by eliminating unnecessary hardware purchases and time spent in deployment, managing, and maintaining those servers. Continuing the worfklow, once those files are transformed into any number of destination formats, they can be delivered seamlessly to multiple CDNs or FTP locations. We’ll show more of the workflow in action during the demo so lets spend a few minutes discussing the various types of deployments and explore additional advantages of cloud encoding.
  • Before we jump into the demo – we thought it might be helpful to provide some background on the architecture of the Squeeze Solutions Pack which was jointly developed by Sorenson Media, RightScale, and Aspera. I’d like to introduce Mike Flathers, CTO of Sorenson Media to help walk through this architecture.Mike, can help us understand the underlying components of the Squeeze Solutions Pack?(Mike: high level 60 second overview)Great, can you take us through a demo?
  • To recap – More devices, more renditions, and more delivery options = more formats, more decisionsEncoding needs are accelerating, not decliningVariable conditions mean forethought required – 1 size does NOT fit all! Encoding in the cloud provides:On-demand services that are scalable, can adapt quickly to support new devices and format, and eliminate the need to invest in hardware and resources to support the spiky nature of encoding.


  • 1. Video Encoding in the Cloud:A Key Strategy for 2011January 20, 2011
  • 2. Your Panel Today
    • Mike Flathers, CTO, Sorenson Media
    • 3. Kirk Punches, Vice President of Business Development, Sorenson Media. @KirkPunches
    • 4. Uri Budnik, Director, ISV Partner Program, RightScale @UriBudnik
    • 5. Bhavik Vyas, Director of Technology Sales and Partnerships, Aspera
    Q&A Line:
    • Ryan McGinnis and Daniel Howard, Account Manager, RightScale
    • 6. Coby Rich, Marketing Manager, Sorenson Media
    Please use the questions window to ask questions any time!
  • 7. Agenda
    • Trending stories
    • 8. Strategy discussion on when to use public cloud encoding, on-premise encoding or a hybrid of both
    • 9. Overview of cloud-based encoding servers scaling capabilities
    • 10. Live demo
    • 11. Summary & conclusions
    Please use the questions window to ask questions any time!
  • 12. Trending Stories
    • More devices, more renditions, more delivery options
    • 13. More formats, more decisions
    • 14. Encoding needs accelerating, not declining
  • Encoding is Hard
    • Fundamental Video Compression Value Proposition:
    Highest Available Quality for Relative Bitrate
    Always demand the most “Bang for your bit”
    • User Experience Matters
    50” TV screen experience 3.5” iPhone screen experience
    Adaptive Bitrate = Solving for User-Experience Failure (Buffering…)
    Variable conditions mean forethought required – 1 size does NOT fit all!
  • 15. Industry Directions and Strategies
    Video encoding is at the heart of video distribution. It is absolutely mission critical. But it is hard, hard, hard to do right. The right cloud solution can take that pain away by offering significant cost savings, scalability, enhanced performance and higher video quality, flexibility and choice….
  • 16. New Video Encoding Problem
    Cost $
    No ability to encode files!!
  • 17. Solution: Managed Cloud
    Cost $
    On Demand
  • 18.
    • Expanding from Web 2.0 to ‘Enterprise’
    • 19. From to
    • 20. Web 2.0, entertainment, software, media, mobile, biopharma, health care, financial services, education
    • 21. Ideal use cases:
    Scaling websites
    Social game
    Dev & test
    Disaster recovery
    Application delivery
    Video encoding
    Who’s using cloud computing?
  • 22. RightScale Real Customers, Real Deployments, Real Benefits
    Managed Cloud Deployments for 4 Years
    More than 30,000 users; launched almost 2,000,000 servers
    On-Demand with a range of customer service offerings
  • 23. Sorenson Media
    • Decade-plus legacy of innovating and “mainstreaming” Internet video (enabled video playback in Apple QuickTime, Macromedia Flash, YouTube)
    • 24. Internationally recognized, trusted and award-winning brand
    • 25. Portfolio of best-in-class differentiated technology & encoding solutions
    • 26. Global partners include Google, Apple, Adobe, Amazon, Shutterfly, Avid, YouTube, Qualcomm, Samsung, Lenovo, LG, Verizon
    “Every time you see a video online, you probably have Sorenson Media to thank”
    - Jefferson Graham, USA Today
  • 27. Aspera, Inc
    • Patented next-generation big/bulk data transport protocol
    Mitigates the effects of WAN latency & packet loss
    • 1100+ active customers worldwide
    • 28. Over 6000 server & endpoint licenses deployed
    • 29. A mission-critical component in global business data workflows
  • Strategy Discussion
    Types of Implementations:
    Cloud-Only Encoding
    Hybrid Encoding (On Premise & Cloud)
    Hybrid Cloud (Private & Public Cloud)
    Advantages of Cloud Encoding:
    Reduced CAPEX/OPEX
    Fast Deployment
  • 30. Cloud Encoding Basics: Ingest to Publishing
  • 31. Squeeze Solution Pack Architecture
    Publishing Destination(s)
    Amazon S3
    Akamai / LLNW / CDN
    Sorenson 360

    Solution Pack Deployment (RightScale)
    Squeeze Server(s)
    One-Click Deploy
    Squeeze Servers (1..n)
    Solutions Pack API’s
    Cloud Provider (AWS)

    Job Queue
  • 32. Live Demo
  • 33. Summary and Conclusions
    • More devices, more renditions, and more delivery options = more formats, more decisions
    • 34. Encoding needs are accelerating, not declining
    • 35. Variable conditions mean forethought required – 1 size does NOT fit all!
    Encoding in the cloud provides:
    On-demand services that are scalable, can adapt quickly to support new devices and formats (future proof), and eliminates the need to invest in hardware, software and resources to support the evolving, growing, spiky nature of encoding.
  • 36. Q&A and Getting Started
    • Have a project, ready to get started?
    Contact us: sales@rightscale.com or (866) 720-0208
    • Need to learn more?
    Squeeze Solution:
    Cloud Webinar archive: www.RightScale.com/webinars
    CloudWhite papers: www.RightScale.com/whitepapers
  • 37. Thank You!
  • 38. Appendix
  • 39. Aspera fasp: Bulk-Data Transport TCP Performance Superiority
    100% B/W Utilization
    Any size, any network, and distance
    Real-Time & Policy based b/w control
    Full utilization of commodity internet
    Highly Efficient – Low Overhead
    Full b/w use regardless of packet loss
    Precise and predictable transfer times
    Congestion control (LAN, WAN, Disk)
    100 % Security, Integrity & Reliability
    AES128 encryption in transit
    Secure user authentication
    Cross OS file ACL preservation
  • 40. Aspera’s Bandwidth ROI
    FTP: Limited by Distance & Packet Loss, Not B/W
    Aspera: Scales Linearly with Bandwidth
    Distance & Packet Loss Independent